I recently spent a peaceful afternoon with my husband foraging for Chanterelle mushrooms in our local forest. Mushroom foraging can be a deeply satisfying experience that combines hiking outdoors with the fun of a scavenger hunt. There are a few edible mushrooms available for wild harvesting, and one of the tastiest is the Chanterelle.
Chanterelle mushrooms are an edible variety of fungi that grow across the world in mossy forests. They have a funnel type appearance and are usually orange in color. They are often found growing in damp, coniferous forests in small bunches. Mushrooms, particularly chanterelles, are an excellent source of antioxidants, which may help prevent certain cancers. According to the Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms, they may also provide a bactericidal effect. Mushrooms are one of the few food sources that contain vitamin D, which is otherwise only obtained through sunlight. A half-cup of chanterelles can contain almost an entire daily recommended dose of vitamin D. They also contain compounds called chitin and chitosan, which are important in our bodies immune function. They also contain choline, selenium, vitamin C, potassium, and a wide array of additional vitamins and minerals. I recommend adding mushrooms as a part of your weekly meal plan.
Aside from the health benefits of eating mushrooms, I also find the act itself of foraging mushrooms to be healing. There is a nourishing aspect of the forest’s stillness and the fresh smell of moss and dirt as you walk through the trees, searching for small golden treasures. It’s a reflective time to remember where our food comes from. Not only from cultivating agriculture, but from the wildlands around us.
How I like to eat chanterelles:
Chantelle and Goat Cheese Pasta
- Cook desired amount of pasta in seasoned saltwater.
- Heat a pan (preferably cast iron) to a very hot temperature and add a high smoke point oil such as avocado oil. Heat chanterelle mushrooms in the pan until soft and season with Himalayan salt.
- Drain pasta and toss in additional avocado oil.
- Top with goat cheese and cooked chanterelles
*Note* Before foraging for mushrooms, make sure you have acquainted yourself with the regulations regarding mushroom harvesting. Respect our forests and do not take any more than you are allotted. The only way to protect our resources is for everyone to follow the rules and leave no trace of your visitation (i.e., pack out what you take in). When foraging for mushrooms, make sure you are extremely careful. Some mushrooms grow in similar areas called “false chanterelles,” which are poisonous. Before doing any mushroom foraging, make sure you have carefully read up on mushroom identification using a reputable source or consider taking a foraging class from an expert.